Attention, knitting lovers: Reston Community Center’s Knitting Circle will begin its fall session this month.
In this instructor-led group at RCC Hunters Woods, attendees will learn how to knit on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The series will run from September 17 through November 21.
Registration is $50 for Reston residents and $75 for all others.
Participants can share ideas on knitting projects and work on new or existing projects. Knitters at all skill levels are invited to attend. Registration is available online.
Photo via RCC
John Wasowicz, a county native and a former Arlington prosecutor, will bring his legal thriller, “Daingerfield Island” to Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive) this coming weekend.
Wasowicz’s novel is about a DC-based defense attorney who represents a man falsely accused of murder near Daingerfield Island.
His book tour, which has included other locations along the East Coast, will come to the Reston bookstore on Saturday (September 15) from noon to 2 p.m. Wasowicz will meet readers and sign copies of the new book.
Photo via BrickHouse Books, Inc.
The plan calls for redeveloping Lake Anne Fellowship House, an affordable housing community for seniors on North Shore Drive, into a new, eight-story, multi-family building for seniors. The 240-unit building will include a crafts room, community gardens, and a garage. A terrace will overlook North Shore Drive.
The remainder of the property will include up to 72 market-rate, for-sale townhouses to help finance the senior housing construction project.
In July, the DRB suggested a series of changes, including redesigning the southeast corner of the multi-family building away from North Shore Drive, redesigning the building’s parking garage, rethinking the placement of a row of townhouses away from North Shore Drive, more landscaping, and more contemporary architecture that uses flat roofs, rooftop terraces and metal canopies.
Fellowship Square Foundation and the Community Preservation and Development Corporation redesigned the multifamily building by shifting the parking garage from the base of the building to allow for more landscaping and further distance from North Shore Drive.
The garage wall will be screened by louvers or metal panels. To address concerns about the placement of two rows of townhouses, the applicant plans to increase the space between some rows by three feet. Architectural designs will also include more modern and contemporary elements.
The meeting is set for 7 p.m. at 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive in the conference center. The project will go before the county’s Planning Commission on October 4 and the county’s Board of Supervisors on October 16.
Photos via Reston Association/Handout
The food pantry at South Lakes High School is moving beyond the typical scope of community pantries that give students in need a chance to discreetely shop for food and toiletries. In the coming weeks, the pantry, which currently caters to students in the SLHS pyramid and is run by the school’s Parent Teacher Student Association, will begin offering cooking skills classes.
The after-school cooking workshops will give students a chance to learn more about healthy eating. Through eight sessions during the school year on Wednesday afternoons, students will learn how to make one recipe using healthy ingredients and meal kits that do not rely on processed ingredients, according to Roberta Gosling, one of the founders of the pantry. The initiative is made possible by a $7,000 grant from the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation.
The idea began to take root when Alana Pudner, a Girl Scout, approached pantry organizers with a three-meal pack she prepared to earn her Silver Award. Students began ordering the meal kit, which includes ingredients for veggie chili, lentil stew, and a tuna pasta casserole, as part of their weekly orders.
“To take that further, we also looked at some of the broader trends and felt that if we could help students learn to cook healthy, budget-friendly recipes that it would equip a broad group of people with life skills and take students a step closer to nutritious choices,” Gosling said.
Recipes will contain ingredients available in the pantry and through SNAP and WIC benefits. At the end of each session, students will get bags with recipes and ingredients, including a kitchen starter kit with basic tools like a cutting board, measuring cup, a pan, and spices used in multiple cuisines. Although the classes are open to all students at the school, organizers plan to market the class through the pantry to reach students most in need. Each session will accommodate about 20 students.
Organizers are also making an effort to focus on foods from around the world. Shopping lists are available in English, Spanish and Arabic and participants will get a chance to try different cuisines in the classes.
Roughly 30 percent of all SLHS students experience food insecurity, according to pantry organizers and volunteers. Every Thursday, students in need turn in their shopping list for the week. Volunteers pack shopping bags and distribute them to students as they head out on Fridays. Students can also shop at the pantry on Thursdays from 3-6 p.m. and on Friday from noon to 3 p.m. The pantry is also open in the summer on Thursdays from 3-6 p.m.
Since April 2017, the pantry has filled more than 2,500 orders and weekly order averages are also increasing.
Now, pantry organizers and volunteers are looking for new ways to make the initiative more sustainable and comprehensive. On September 30, the school’s PTSA will partner with Lake Anne Brew House to present the “Do It Your Way 0.5K.” All proceeds from the event, which is set for 4-6 p.m. at Lake Anne Brew House, will go to the food pantry.
The pantry is led by Gosling, Abbe Pascal, Andy Sigle, Amy Shaw, and Sherri Pudner. Items in high demand include rice, beans, jelly, canned fruit, shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. Monetary donations are also accepted online.
Photos via Roberta Gosling
While many of us express concern that we do not see as many solar collectors on Virginia roof-tops as we would like, the Commonwealth is showing significant progress on turning sunlight into electrical energy. As with any major change there are some hazy areas that need to be considered as well.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) as reported in the August 2018 issue of Virginia Business magazine, Virginia currently ranks 17th nationally with 631.3 megawatts of installed solar capacity. The ranking is a significant jump from 2016 when the state ranked 29th nationally. Even with the advanced standing, only 0.59 percent of the state’s electricity comes from solar. By way of contrast, North Carolina is second in the nation in installed solar capacity with 4,412 megawatts brought about by generous tax incentives. For North Carolina that is nearly five percent of their electricity supply.
Virginia’s future with solar appears bright with 59 notices of intent with the Department of Environmental Quality to install 2,646 megawatts of solar according to the Virginia Business article. Driving the expansion of solar energy is a sharp drop in price from $96 in 1970 to 40 cents per kilowatt this year and an insistence on the part of technology giants like Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Facebook, all of whom have a presence in Virginia, that their electric power come from solar systems. The Grid Transformation and Security Act passed by the General Assembly this year requires 5,000 new megawatts of solar and wind energy to be developed. Included in that total is 500 megawatts of small, roof-top panels.
Middlesex County Public Schools opened this year with two of its three schools powered by solar energy. Although a small, rural school system, Middlesex has the largest ground-mounted solar system of any school division in the state and is expected to save over two million dollars per year. Excess electricity generated is sent to the grid for credit for any electricity the schools takes from the grid at night through a net-metering arrangement.
Some shadows along the way can be expected with such a massive shift in the way electricity is produced. It takes about eight acres of land for each megawatt produced. Solar farms take up large amounts of land. Just last week the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors voted to deny a conditional-use permit for a 178-acre utility scale solar facility in the County. The supervisors indicated that they had questions about the project for which they did not receive adequate answers. One factor is likely to have been the results of a study by the American Battlefield Trust that indicated the project would be visible from some of the half-dozen signal stations around Culpeper County that were used during the Civil War to detect troop movement. The County depends on a high level of tourism based on its Civil War battlefields and apparently does not want to jeopardize its attraction to Civil War buffs.
The clouds will pass, and Virginia is on its way to a bright future with solar energy.
Facebook screwed us and we need your help — Reston Now’s new sister site needs your help. Tysons Reporter will officially launch Sept. 25, but there’s a big problem: some 1,400 people who tried to subscribe to Tysons Reporter’s email newsletter from a Facebook ad had their info deleted by Facebook before we could import it into our system. Please help us spread the word to anyone in Tysons, McLean or Vienna that if they signed up for the email newsletter via Facebook, they should re-subscribe. [ARLnow]
Cycling for a cure — Cyclists gathered for the American Diabetes Association’s 2018 Tour de Cure in Reston Town Center on September 8. Locally, 43 teams took part, equalling 401 participants, to raise $500,000. [The Connection]
An update on Hurricane Florence — “The latest models and forecasts show Hurricane Florence tracking farther south of Fairfax County, potentially decreasing its impact locally. Rain is still expected and flooding conditions may occur in the coming days, so we’re not out of preparedness mode yet for this storm. Hurricane forecasts and tracks can change, so please remain vigilant and prepared.” [Fairfax County Government]
Officers assaulted on Barton Hill Road — A woman who was experiencing an apparent mental health crisis scratched and attempted to bite two police officers on Tuesday on the 1900 block of Barton Hill Road. The police department is working with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to determine if any charges should be placed. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Flickr pool photo by vantagehill